n South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - An overview of electronic information resources sharing initiatives in Kenyan universities




Information professionals in Kenya have long been cognisant of the need to share and transfer information among themselves. Unfortunately, information resource sharing initiatives have been limited to inter-library loans (ILL) ventures which have also not been very successful. Some of the reasons for failure have been: insufficient information resources for sharing, inadequate budget allocation to cater for the high costs of information resources, and the lack of appropriate communication infrastructure and enabling technologies to support any meaningful venture considering that most libraries in Kenya have been operating on manual systems. The widespread use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Kenya since the 1990s has, however, enabled the realisation of a number of information sharing initiatives among libraries and information centres. This paper examines successes and / or failures of such initiatives among Kenyan universities in relation to the objectives for which they were intended to fulfil, arguing that progress can be achieved much more easily by focusing future efforts toward building on the successes, and avoiding the pitfalls that have been experienced. It is concluded that although on-line information sharing networks are not a panacea to all the problems facing information providers in Kenyan universities, they have, nevertheless, potential to open new avenues, enabling users to have access to vast information resources available within national and international databases, as a way of alleviating information scarcity in these institutions.


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